Can you contract out of the obligation to pay spousal support?
September 14, 2022
Collaborative family law is a resolution-focused, family-centred process to settle family law issues outside of court. Collaborative family law aims to reduce conflict between the parties, encouraging former spouses to work together to find a solution instead of undermining one another. With the guidance of trained collaborative family law practitioners, the parties have greater control over the process than is typically afforded in traditional litigation.
At Long Shariff & Associates, we believe litigation should always be a last resort rather than the default option. Both of our firm’s partners, Jennifer Long and Romaana Shariff, are trained in collaborative family law and make this the primary focus in helping clients resolve family disputes. This is consistent with our firm’s approach to resolving family disputes, which focuses heavily on eliminating stress and reducing conflict for our clients whenever possible. We believe collaborative family law is ideal for clients facing any family law dispute. We have had great success with the process in situations where emotions are running high or the parties’ attempts to work together have failed in the past.
The short answer is most everyone going through a separation or divorce can benefit from the collaborative family law process. There are several benefits to the process when compared with other more traditional means of dispute resolution. Whether you and your former spouse have just a few matters to resolve, or you’re facing a contentious situation with several key family issues at stake, collaborative family law can be extremely beneficial.
While some may think the collaborative nature of the process would be futile in a situation where the parties are in a high-conflict situation, the exact opposite is true. In fact, high-conflict couples often derive the most significant benefit by choosing a collaborative approach rather than an adversarial one. The nature of the process places an emphasis on compassion, cooperation and empathy. Collaborative family lawyers are trained in non-confrontational negotiation methods to keep discussions productive and forward-moving. Rather than focusing on areas of conflict, we place the emphasis on shared interests and build discussions from there.
If you have children, maintaining a cordial relationship with your ex-spouse is extremely important. Even if there is anger between the parents, maintaining a healthy dynamic will help to ensure the negativity doesn’t impact each parent’s relationship with their child. It may be tempting to interfere with the parent/child dynamic, but unless there are issues that put the child at risk, this is ultimately unhelpful and can be very harmful to your child’s mental health. Modelling cooperative behaviour by engaging in collaborative family law can be extremely beneficial to the overall family dynamic and your child’s wellbeing.
Given the solutions-based approach, collaborative family law can be a more efficient process than litigation or other alternative forms of dispute resolution. The process aims to keep the focus on meeting each party’s interests rather than dwelling on disagreements. As a result, the process can often move forward more quickly than other methods. Further, the control is in the hands of each party, rather than being at the mercy of court schedules, which can create significant delays.
Family disputes are extremely personal, and they often involve hurt feelings, anger, and mistrust. Regardless of the justification for the conflict, it can be extremely damaging to a person’s mental health to stay in this psychological state for a long period of time. Even though the anger may never go away, working with a team to resolve matters through a collaborative process will ultimately benefit everyone involved. Family conflict creates a great deal of stress, which can affect a person’s health and mental wellbeing over time. At Long Shariff & Associates, we aim to shoulder that burden for our clients so they can shed that stress and move on with their lives as quickly as possible.
Whether you are facing a separation, divorce or other complex family dispute, the family lawyers at Long Shariff & Associates can help find a resolution through collaborative family law. As a team, our goal is for each client to walk away with an agreement or solution they feel is fair and appropriate to their specific circumstances. To speak with a member of our family law team about your situation and your goals, please reach out to us online, or call us at 905-591-4545.